Are you on the red team or the blue?
Businesses often spend a lot of time analysing possible outcomes of critical decisions, this can be in the form of competitor analysis, market trends, financial forecasts and alike. But how do they make sure they are as robust as possible?
The British Military and many other Western forces use a method of game playing, this isn’t as casual or as fun as it might sound. Two teams are formed, the first (Blue team) builds the plan utilising all the normal business tools that are available, they formulate the plan and then they implement the plan – this can be in the form of (in the military case) a war game. However increasingly strategic business decisions also utilise a similar business game scenario in order to test there decisions.
The plan must be as accurate and as detailed as possible, for instance new investments, mergers or acquisition require the timeline, funding, announcements, city reactions etc. all factored into the scenario. The blue team begins to implement their plan.
Now the job of the other team (Red team) can be refined to take on many roles such as a key competitor or the investment community or even possible a number of influences that represent the environment that the plan will be operating within.
As the timeline unfolds the red team begin to test the plan with there own events and actions, this effects the blue teams plan, it challenges thinking and often test the team as to how they would respond.
The key events, reactions, outcomes and key decisions are all recorded and reviewed at the end of the exercise, the aim is to bottom out the robustness of the various courses of action that the blue team have made – it throws new light on the strengths and weaknesses of any plan and helps the team to build contingency and alternative scenarios.
The combined effect for the red tea is a better understanding of the plan and the inherent risks that are carried. The blue (implementation) team can then prepare for the execution of the plan after making any necessary alterations, they are better balanced for the unexpected and as a team better positioned to cope with the challenges that may corporate decisions face during implementation.
If you’d like to know more about Business and military thinking then contact Ivan Yardley